Challenges To President Tinubu's Leadership: The Detrimental Impact Of Arbitrary Arrests And Politicized Law Enforcement By AIG Arungwa Nwazule On Nigeria's Democratic Image

Feature Article Challenges To President Tinubu's Leadership: The Detrimental Impact Of Arbitrary Arrests And Politicized Law Enforcement By AIG Arungwa Nwazule On Nigeria's Democratic Image
FEB 26, 2024 LISTEN

The recent wave of arbitrary arrests conducted by the Nigerian Police, particularly under the direction of Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Arungwa Nwazule, has cast a troubling shadow over the state of democracy and the rule of law in Nigeria. The arrests, which targeted prominent figures within the opposition Labour Party (LP), including National Chairman Julius Abure, Edo State Chairman Kelly Ogbaloi, and a youth leader, have sparked widespread condemnation and raised serious concerns about the politicization of law enforcement.

President Bola Tinubu, along with Nigeria's opposition Labour Party leader and presidential candidate, Peter Obi, has voiced strong objections to the manner in which these arrests were conducted. Obi, in particular, emphasized the importance of upholding due process and established arrest procedures, stressing the need for law enforcement authorities to exercise civility, decorum, and respect for citizens' rights.

Central to the controversy surrounding these arrests is the revelation that they were prompted by a petition lodged last year against Julius Abure by a former national youth leader of the LP, Anslem Eragbe. This sudden revival of an old, politically motivated petition, which accuses Abure of serious crimes including conspiracy and murder, raises serious questions about the motives behind the arrests and the integrity of the investigative process.

The timing of these arrests, occurring on the eve of LP's primary election, has further fueled suspicions of political interference and manipulation. Accusations of murder, in particular, must be substantiated by credible evidence and subjected to rigorous investigation, rather than being exploited for political gain.

The actions of AIG Arungwa Nwazule and his office, in responding to this petition without conducting a thorough and impartial investigation, represent a troubling departure from the principles of justice and the rule of law. Such arbitrary arrests not only undermine public trust in law enforcement but also erode the foundations of democratic governance and respect for human rights.

Moreover, it is concerning that the name and office of Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kayode Egbetokun are consistently invoked in various petitions, irrespective of the petitioner's location. This practice undermines the integrity of the office and raises questions about the credibility of such petitions. It is imperative to address this issue to maintain the reputation and authority of the IGP's office.

In response to these developments, President Bola Tinubu must demand unwavering transparency and accountability from the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and AIG Nwazule. An independent and comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding Abure's arrest is essential to rectify the injustices perpetrated and restore public confidence in the integrity of law enforcement institutions.

Looking ahead, there is an urgent need for specialized training programs for police officers, particularly during politically sensitive periods. Such initiatives should aim to educate officers on the complexities of the political landscape, instill a firm commitment to upholding democratic principles and safeguarding citizens' rights, and cultivate a culture of professionalism and impartiality in the discharge of their duties.

Furthermore, police officers must be reminded to avoid succumbing to temptations or compromising their integrity. Instances of arbitrary arrests and politicized law enforcement bring shame to the entire institution and erode public trust. Upholding ethical standards and remaining impartial in their enforcement of the law is paramount to maintaining the credibility and effectiveness of the Nigerian Police Force.

By equipping law enforcement officers with the necessary knowledge, skills, and ethical framework, Nigeria can mitigate the risks of political manipulation and abuse of power, reinforcing the democratic foundations of the nation and reaffirming its commitment to the rule of law and human rights.

It’s imperative to provide Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Arungwa Nwazule, press officers like Tijani Momoh, and other relevant personnel with specialized training in handling politically sensitive matters. This training should emphasize the importance of neutrality, transparency, and accountability within the police force, particularly when dealing with political issues.

By exposing these officers to comprehensive training on political sensitivity and related matters, they can better understand the nuances of such situations and act in a manner that upholds democratic principles. This includes fostering open communication channels, adhering to ethical standards, and maintaining public trust and confidence in law enforcement agencies.

In conclusion, investing in specialized training for police officers during politically sensitive periods is crucial for promoting professionalism, impartiality, and adherence to democratic values. By equipping law enforcement personnel with the necessary skills and knowledge, Nigeria can strengthen its law enforcement institutions and ensure the integrity of its democratic processes. Collaboration among key stakeholders and leveraging external expertise will be essential in achieving this goal.

Furthermore, as Nigeria contemplates the implementation of state police systems, prioritizing the training and education of law enforcement officers, particularly during politically sensitive periods, is paramount. Engaging external experts, scholars, and practitioners in criminology, ethics, and criminal justice to provide specialized training to police officers is recommended.

These training programs should focus on equipping officers with a comprehensive understanding of the political landscape, including the dynamics between various parties, candidates, and potential sources of tension during election periods. By imparting this knowledge, officers will be better equipped to navigate complex political situations effectively and uphold the principles of democracy and the rule of law.


Professor John Egbeazien Oshodi

Professor John Egbeazien Oshodi, born in Uromi, Edo State, Nigeria, is an American-based police and prison scientist, forensic psychologist, and legal psychologist. He’s a government advisor on forensic-clinical psychological services in the USA and the founder of the Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi Foundation for Psychological Health. With a significant role in introducing forensic psychology to Nigeria through N.U.C. and Nasarawa State University, he’s also a former Secretary-General of the Nigeria Psychological Association. He’s taught at esteemed institutions like Florida Memorial University, Florida International University, Nova Southeastern University, and more, and is currently an online faculty member at Weldios University, Nexus International University, and Walden University. [email protected]